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Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 Miles is the Same as Stopping Half-Way in Chinese / Japanese...

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Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way.

xíng bǎi lǐ zhě bàn jiǔ shí
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Scroll

This old Chinese proverb speaks to the act of giving up. This phrase suggests that no matter how close you are to finishing your task or journey, giving up just before you finish, is just as bad as giving up halfway.

50% finished or 90% finished, the result is the same: "You are not finished".

You can take what you want from this proverb but I think it suggests that you should finish what you start, and especially finish that last 10% of your journey or project so that you can honestly say "it's finished".

Some notes: The character, 里, that I am translating as "mile" is really an ancient "Chinese mile" which is actually about half a kilometer - it just doesn't sound right to say "When walking 100 half-kilometers..".




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way.行百里者半九十xíng bǎi lǐ zhě bàn jiǔ shí
xing2 bai3 li3 zhe3 ban4 jiu3 shi2
xing bai li zhe ban jiu shi
xingbailizhebanjiushi
hsing pai li che pan chiu shih
hsingpailichepanchiushih



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Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Scroll
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Scroll
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Scroll
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Scroll


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Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Vertical Portrait
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Horizontal Wall Scroll
Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way. Vertical Portrait

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A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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